This fall has been weird--a good weird, but still weird.
In the past Ryan and I have sat down for some negotiations revolving around hunting; how much, what days, expectations, etc. We'd settle on a set number of days and what days were off limits (Sundays, Moo's Bday, other big days). Tension would be high but after it was all hashed out we were both on the same page and it was one day of fighting instead of fighting everyday because he thought he should go and I thought he should not. This gigantic push/pull which left me feeling selfish and controlling on one hand but yet justified and "right" because he is needed around here.
It started when my friend offered me and a couple other girls a chance to take a charter bus to Chicago for a shopping trip and get a hotel on the Michigan Mile for $20 total... minus the actual shopping, of course. It was through her work but the catch was it was the first weekend of deer firearms season. I thought Ry would never say ok because he'd have to hang with the kiddos. Instead... he said it would be FINE.
This year we never got around to having that conversation, which I kept telling myself I was going to regret. He went up for an overnight in early fall with my brother-in-law and they duck hunted on the way in to scout out some deer sign for their 3rd annual brother hunting trip. I didn't consider it hunting but rather scouting. Then, he started talking about rifle season. I kept expecting him to go out bow hunting but instead I heard him mention to a friend that he was selling his bow.
I asked him about it and he said he didn't want it to be a big deal but there isn't time to do it all and since he preferred gun season and duck hunting he'd rather have the money (although its not going to be a lot) from the bow. He said he'd also like to not have it here because if its here than he feels like he has to get out and that's not where our family is right now.
He is going two nights at his friend's cabin with a bunch of work friends on opening day of firearms seasons. (yes, I know I've just called it by three different names). He was also planning on the bro hunting weekend. AND THAT WAS ALL HE WAS PLANNING.
Has hell frozen over? I told him over and over again that I appreciated how he was handling it this year. I told him flat out, "this is how hunting season is supposed to feel. THANK YOU." He is completely confused and I'm so glad.
So what is the difference? Not that I would exactly say that he was just selfish every other year, but compared to those years this year he is being so completely unselfish. He is first considering what our family needs and then considering where the wants/desires fit into that. As he should. He is loving me with his actions. He is loving his babies with his actions. Which in turn makes me feel like I don't have to dig my heels in and demand he fit us in his schedule. Also, rifle season is just two weeks long. Cutting out bow cuts "hunting season" down from Oct 1-January 1... to just two weeks--Nov 15-30. I told him I didn't mind if he took more time for hunting during the two weeks of hunting season because its just two weeks. Sadly, he could only add two more days in, but still. Its a lot easier to handle him being gone when he doesn't act entitled to it. I like that he is confused by my reaction this year because it means he's not doing it to trick me into "giving" him more days hunting. He's doing it because he is seeking God first; he is seeking to love his family more than himself.
I feel like I can gift him support and I can truly be happy that he is hunting. This is what it is supposed to feel like. I feel loved. I feel cherished. I feel appreciated. What I don't feel is that I have to be his mother telling him what he is and is not allowed to be doing. I have never wanted that spot; I have 3 little bodies I can take my mother-hen instincts out on. I also don't feel like I have to keep score about who got to do what. What a blessing. What peace the past year has brought to our house.
Chicago isn't happening anymore because the friend with the hookup was laid off from that job... but we're still going out for the weekend. You know what? I wondered if he'd ask me to reschedule for after hunting season... it never even crossed his mind.
I love that man. I'm so thankful to have him. I'm so lucky to have him. I'm so glad that we are partners in this.
Learning to love one another isn't hard. Learning to love each other and live with one another unselfishly is the challenge. Praise the Lord that we have HIM guiding us, correcting us when we stray, and offering us grace a long the way.